“Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium”
Category: Best Novelette
I have just learned, from the fact that spell-check has not underlined the word in red, that alluvium is a real thing. It’s also the name of the planet where this story takes place. There is a human colony on Alluvium, which was conquered and subjugated by some lizard-like aliens. One of the humans is dying of cancer, and decides to be buried rather than cremated, going against the local human custom as well as the alien taboos. The main character is thus inspired to revive the human insurgency and try to drive the lizards off the planet by playing off their fears of being buried.
And… that’s pretty much it. After the grim march through the novellas, it was certainly nice to read a story that wasn’t misogynist or ham-handed Christian allegory. But I found this one unremarkable. It was competently written, but not particularly mind-expanding or emotionally affecting. There was nothing I hated about it, but I doubt I’ll remember it by the time I get to Worldcon, and I can’t imagine that it was the best novelette of 2014.